Monday, April 30, 2012

Can A Leper Change His Spot?

...heh heh see what I did there in the title?

A man cannot serve two masters, the savior said. I've been thinking about the balance in that. You serve one and hate the other. There isn't both. One or the other. We often tend to think that that there is our way, and we choose if we are going to submit to God. As if we were standing in a line at the DMV, Line A is submission to God, and Line B is submission to the Adversary, and then line C is doing it our own way.

What if it is a lot less like choosing a lane, and more black and white in the matter. More like a light switch is either on or off and you only have one choice or another.

What if it is really like we are either submitting to God, or we are submitting to the way of the adversary. There isn't our way, because to take on the mantle of OUR OWN way, is to be in the manner of the enemy per sey.

There is no "your way" -  there is either Gods authority, or the Authority of the Adversary.
You might be asking yourself what this has to do with Leprosy, and I'm getting to that. 

What is the sin of the Devil? He exalted himself, setting himself up to be like God.

So, What if the mark of leprosy is a symptom of submission to the way of the adversary?
Think about Mariam

Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married and they said, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?” And the LORD heard it.  (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.)  Suddenly the LORD said to Moses and Aaron and to Miriam, “You three come out to the tent of meeting.” So the three of them came out. 5 Then the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the doorway of the tent, and He called Aaron and Miriam. When they had both come forward,  He said,
   “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream.  “Not so, with My servant Moses,
He is faithful in all My household;  With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings, And he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid
To speak against My servant, against Moses?

  So the anger of the LORD burned against them and He departed.  But when the cloud had withdrawn from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow. As Aaron turned toward Miriam, behold, she was leprous.
Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, “O God, heal her, I pray!” 14 But the LORD said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not bear her shame for seven days? Let her be shut up for seven days outside the camp, and afterward she may be received again.”  So Miriam was shut up outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on until Miriam was received again.
- numbers 12

You have Moses, Mariam and Aaron who all righteous following servants of God. They are all in submission to Him, until Miriam turns to Aaron and says, "aren't we all equal? Who does this guy think he is? Aren't we all the same? "  in these kinds of statements she is messing with an order that God laid out.   Moses is the leader, and they are to be submitted to his authority under God, but Miriam has a problem with that. She mumbles against him because she finds fault with something else. She seeks to elevate her and Aaron as equals. The result of her heart, shows leprosy.

Here is another example

But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the LORD his God, for he entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.  Then Azariah the priest entered after him and with him eighty priests of the LORD, valiant men.They opposed Uzziah the king and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful and will have no honor from the LORD God.”  But Uzziah, with a censer in his hand for burning incense, was enraged; and while he was enraged with the priests, the leprosy broke out on his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the altar of incense.  Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous on his forehead; and they hurried him out of there, and he himself also hastened to get out because the LORD had smitten him.
 -2 chronicles 26

What if Leprosy is just a symptom of a pre-existing heart condition... that desire to be something more than what you think you are. That desire to elevate stature or deflate a position of one greater than yourself.

This is the passage that talks about the disease:

Then the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying,  “When a man has on the skin of his body a swelling or a scab or a bright spot, and it becomes an infection of leprosy on the skin of his body, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests.  The priest shall look at the mark on the skin of the body, and if the hair in the infection has turned white and the infection appears to be deeper than the skin of his body, it is an infection of leprosy; when the priest has looked at him, he shall pronounce him unclean.  But if the bright spot is white on the skin of his body, and it does not appear to be deeper than the skin, and the hair on it has not turned white, then the priest shall isolate him who has the infection for seven days.  The priest shall look at him on the seventh day, and if in his eyes the infection has not changed and the infection has not spread on the skin, then the priest shall isolate him for seven more days.  The priest shall look at him again on the seventh day, and if the infection has faded and the mark has not spread on the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him clean; it is only a scab. And he shall wash his clothes and be clean.

Now to go deep with this...  Think about the garden right..

The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!  For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.  So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
-Gen 3

I'm seeing some of the same elements here..  with eve there is the elevation to the status like God. She throws off the submission to God's word by way of her Husband and in doing so, submits to the word of the serpent.  Just like Uzziah went off and disregarded the position of the priest, shucking the authority of God and by his pride, submitting to the authority of the adversary.

When we don't submit to God, we throw off his plan and his hand of protection and blessing. We disregard Life.
 Mankind is in the garden and he lets something in his heart, the idea that by his own hands, he can be something greater than what he esteems himself.  As a result, disease takes hold of man. Sin enters his body. He is set out side until the priest comes and deems that he is clean. What then must the man do?

“This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing. Now he shall be brought to the priest...
The one to be cleansed shall then wash his clothes and shave off all his hair and bathe in water and be clean. Now afterward, he may enter the camp, but he shall stay outside his tent for seven days.  - LEv 14

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.
- Revelation

We;re kicked out of the garden for our hearts being prone, and after The priest returns, our High priest, Jesus, Yeshua Ha Mashiac, He will judge us and he is coming back for that church without spot of wrinkle. There is that picture of the wife taking her place aside her husband. The picture of walking in the place where God has put you, in the recognition that HE is the one that elevates and deflates stature. It is HE that causes us to rise and fall. When we walk in that recognition as His bride, then our pride will continually be in check and disease will not take root. When we guard our hearts from falling into a place of susceptibility of pride or gossip or greed or envy, a place of self glorification... then God will be most glorified. We will recognize His authority. 

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.  But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.   Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.  So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself
-Ephesians 5

We are all lepers when we slander. When we hate. When we hold a grudge. When we think that we are greater than we are. When we think others are less than us. When we take on that attitude, aren't we really saying that We are great and passing judgement that others do not measure up to our standards? Is that in essence, us making ourselves like God?  It is no wonder that we were kicked out of the garden.  God is the one that make us clean. We should be constantly submitting our heart to His authority.

And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”  Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus *said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”-  Matt 8

We have got to submit to God.  In submitting to Him, we are healed from our sickness, and we can wash clean and be restored to covenant relationship. We can walk in the fullness of who HE says we are and where we are supposed to be. 

in conclusion...

I'm still laughing at the Leopard changing his spots pun in the title.  That was really funny to me.    ....uh.... and seek first the kingdom of God.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I want to write the words, but they bottleneck in my throat and I can barely muster a keystroke.

To speak aloud of my God and his ways, his provision and all that he has and is and is doing and has done....

It flows like buckshot from the tongue firing each syllable  with passion as I tell each testimony of His mercy,

The world washing over my feet, because it's worry has so far to reach my heart.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

--> Clever Attention Grabbing Title Goes Here<--

Eh, close enough. 

"There is a difference between trying to forgive, and not forgiving"

A  pretty good friend of mine said that at a bible study recently and it rang as truth to my heart. I had been talking about a falling out with an old and dear friend of mine. I mentioned that sometimes I am still angry about that and I was trying to wrap my head around if the anger was a result of unforgiveness. I've been thinking a lot about forgiveness and what the details on that are. As always, I want to preface what I put together here as the way that I see it. I don't claim to be any sort of bible scholar, so if it applies to you, take it to heart and if not, then keep on keeping on... I'm not here to judge.

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’  But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.  
 Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,  leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.  Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.  Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent.
-Matthew 5

I Know that I have been angry with people. I know that i have called people worthless, and I know that I have said for worse than calling someone a fool. 
From this passage in Matthew 5 I have seen where I have personally failed in both rolls. I know that I have have said a billion terrible things and hurt a million different people with careless words.  I know that I have on occasion not taken the branch offered to me of forgiveness. Instead of looking at the offer of moving past the situation, I have looked at my hurt and seen how bad it was... and that they were responsible.  
And what about the people that weren't repentant. Instead of turning it over to the judge ( God) to handing the ruling in his justice ( because lets face it, there have been times I have had things against people, and I was completely in the wrong.) and submitting to God for that ruling... I've flown off the handle with the Muratore style justice with lots of hitting and swearing. At that point, I haven't acted accordingly. I have taken justice into my hands and as awesome as I think Batman is, vigilante justice isn't something that the bible endorses. 

Continuing on in that line of thinking, here are more ways that I have failed

“You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’
( Muratore style justice eyes and teeth and an arm for a tooth. Also, it is wrong, very very wrong)

But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.  If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.  Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.  Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.    “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

And there in detail is the biography of every man, how we have all failed.  I should title this post " Dear Diary, I sure do suck at this"  This is the exact opposite of what we are taught. We are raised up in this world with the " don't tread on me" mentality and "give as good as you get"  These are the principles of fleshly thinking. 

Love your enemies and PRAY for those who persecute you.

I've even failed at that. I've prayed for them alright. I've prayed that God mess em up. God get em good. God, hit them in the way I want to but can't because I don't wanna be unholy.

Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”  Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.  When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’  And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.  But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’  So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’  But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. Then summoning him, his lord *said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’  And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”
- Matthew 18 

We're slaves. God is our master. We are constantly sinning against him and in HIS debt. We beg for HIS grace and HIS mercy. If we are honest we know that we are perpetually going against his commands and the way of the Messiah. If we say we aren't, then odds are pretty good that we're lying and guilty of pride.  If we beg him for forgiveness for all the things we do... why is it that we are so quick to choke out those who wrong us? Why do we demand their payment when we likewise are guilty.  When I'm wronged, most of the time there isn't any doubt in my mind that they owe me .. or they better make it right...  but when I demand that of them, Am I really acting int he character of the Master who has set me free from my incursion of debt that demanded MY life?  At the end it even specifies that it is an incurrence of more debt upon me that I demand it of those who have sinned against me.  This is echoed in proverbs...

Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
  -Proverbs 17

The demonstration of Love for my brothers and others, when nurtured says to let go of the demand of repayment. I can attest that as I harped on one issue that I was wronged in for years, people left me saying, " I'm tired of hearing about this, you need to get over it" I was separated from some really good friends. Yet, God be praised, not separated beyond God's restorative properties.

This is echoed in Peters writings

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,  and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness,  and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
- 2 Pete 1

 And again, there it is. why years of heartache occurred within me. I was short sighted and lacking in love.  I was drawing short in brotherly kindness.  In demanding things of my brothers, I think that in essence, I was asking them to serve me... and I lost sight of the fact that I am no mans master, but I myself am a slave.  I think it again, touches on that pride condition that I occasionally have.  You know, where I think that I am something, but am actually nothing.

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;  bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.  Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful....

-Colossians 3.

I know I haven't done all this.  I know that i have failed at this. I know that I still fail at this, and if you read this and are nodding a long with all my confessions of how I have failed, because I have wronged you, then know that I am sorry.  I read that passage above and what I see is that the the heart cannot and will not find rest until it in FIRMLY in the Hands of God. That isn't to say that he won't make me uncomfortable for my own benefit...

 ...Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you,with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father

 Yeah...  I certainly wasn't beating up people in the name of the savior, and When I was swearing my face off and spitting in contempt ... yeah... that wasn't in gratitude to God the Father.

Swear, in almost every post I write I get convicted about something. I take comfort in that fact knowing that God isn't givin up on me or anything. I am not beyond salvage or restoration.

Now I'm sitting here thinking about the hard heartedness of the Pharisees that condemned the Messiah. What if that is what I'm like when I don't forgive. I was asking a Friend of mine what she thought about forgiveness and she mentioned the Pharisees. What if they condemned the Savior because they wouldn't forgive him for offending them.. even though he offended them with the truth.  Pride was killing those people too. 

 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.
-Mark 11 

IF we have anything against any one, Forgive them.  If our heart isn't reflecting that of the creator, what are we talking to him about?  

Isn't that the very much the same line as this:

 ‘You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him.  You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD. - Leviticus 19

 In conclusion, 

I see no biblical account in which I should hold a grudge against anyone.  If we in the church are to judge one another, we are to do in the way that the Savoir has, with Grace, mercy and forgiveness.  

There is a difference between unforgiveness and trying to forgive. One is defiance, and one is the process of crucifying the flesh and surrendering a situation to God and stepping out of the way, letting him heal the broken parts.

Now I'll be up half the night thinking about if we go making it right before we talk to God, or we talk to God about helping us get to the right heart where we can forgive, to go make it right, then come back to God.

One way or another .. There has to be talking to God.  That is what I have been learning the past 7 months.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pride is killing our people.

These passages are all things that I have had to repent for.  I could sit here for hours and tell you of all the instances where I have been so proud, but really, what a stupid thing to boast about. I'll save time and round the number up to a lot.   I have been thinking about so many things that I see hitting the body of believers and it is stuff that I am still daily trying to kill within myself.
I mean look at this stuff...

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;  not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,  contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.  Never pay back evil for evil to anyoneRespect what is right in the sight of all men.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.  Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

-Romans 12

I used to be known, ( and still very much am) for my ability to tear anyone apart with my words and wit. I developed that because  as a means of defense because I got picked on so much in school... and then, I just kept on with it. So proud..  my defenses.  Nobody pushes me, nobody treads on me, nobody does anything without me giving back far worse than I got...  If you wronged me, then I would make well and sure that you knew all about it all the wrong way. 

Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of itThere is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?

- James 4

Humbling is such an interesting thing.  I used to pride myself on how I would never quit. My brother used to say that when I lock on to something, I was like a pit bull in the sense that I would never let go.  If I thought I was right, there was absolutely NOTHING in the world that could change my mind without solid proof.  I admit this with much embarrassment. I admit this with a bit of shame. I used to get mad at people for various things that happened in my life. I used to get enraged about injustices and how they wronged me. Sitting in the dark with open wounds I would cry out in pain, and on occasion, curse the person that hurt me.

And that is contrary to the way of the messiah. 

 Thus says the LORD,“Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool.
Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest?
 “For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD. “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.
- Isaiah 66

What does my hand produce?  If all authority comes from God, then why do I rage at those who have wronged me?  Why is it that I am not yet like David in exile who stays the hand of his men ready to kill a scoffer, because I fear God.    if he, being a king,  allowed humility to fall on him because he is mindful of God, then who am I to go forward and demand that everyone make right the way that they have transgressed upon me?  Who am I?
And what, should I be angry with the lord of hosts who allowed such a circumstance to fall on me?
No.  I think I am starting to understand Paul when he said to rejoice when trials and crap hits you in the face( paraphrasing here) because these things are authorized by God who knows what is best for you.  I look back at all the things I have done, and all the choices i have made...

... and how God's hand was in it all shaping me and teaching me how to be more like him.

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.  For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

-Galatians 6

I was so quick to recount every wrong and every way that I hurt others, but honestly... I wasn't very good at just taking stock of how much I was screwing up. How proud and angry I was because wronged me, and I thought I was something.... I was lying to myself. Again I think it comes back to the fact that if you try to save your life, you lose it and if you lose your life for his sake, you'll gain it.

Pride is the thing killing people of faith right now. We're not trying to out serve one another. We're not esteeming our brothers and sisters greater than ourselves. We're not trying to be as children enter the kingdom.. we're trying to be kings of our own right.  This is killing churches, people, marriages, friendships, relationships as a whole.

As I look over my history and my relationships that have been strained, I offer a sincere apology to those who I have wronged and hurt through my arrogance and unforgiveness.  I'm fighting pride. It's part of dying to self. Crucifying the flesh.

Per a request from a friend of mine, I will do a post on forgiveness when I get a chance.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sitting in McDonalds

Inspiration doesn't hit me in the daylight.

I can only write when its 2 in the morning and I can't sleep because I have something that I need to scrape off of my heart in order to clear my mind.

In the day time everything seems so forced for me.  I don't know why that is.
I don't know what it is about the night, the darkness or the sti...
I bet its the stillness.

Be still and know that He is God.

I'm sitting in the McDonalds near my house leaching their internet because mine died about a week ago or so. I look around and I see the dirt on the floor, the shaggy red haired hipster with his assortment of apple products, I see the his panic couple sharing fries.  The texture of the fabric like wall paper  and I hear the screams of laughter and excitement of children playing in the giant play place.  Out the window cars rush by and the wind occasionally tussles some leaves... and I am taking all of this in without even trying.

At night, In the late hour, the world is quiet and at rest, with the exception of that stupid mocking bird outside my window.

This is what God has been showing me since last August. Be still.  Be still and know who HE is.
Not hold still for a second, then do everything in my own power MY own way....
Be still and know who is really in control.

Control. that word is a funny thing to me know.  What control is in the hands of men other than what is given to them by God.  What can we really do by our own hand, but destroy and rebel?

We can build castles to try and satisfy, we can demand things of men that only God can give...  and we can fail in the big picture . 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Grasshopper Story.

There have been a few points in my life where I have known, with all of my being  that God is not only real... but I am with him.
Not so much that he is with me, that where ever I set foot he follows me, but that I'm in a place where he is.

I'm going to tell a story and it is probably going to sound stupid, I know. Yet still...

When i was younger in the faith, only walking for a year or two, I was at the pool one night in our complex. I usually went at night because it wasn't packed full of kids or families... and I was pretty introverted at the time.  Sometimes I would just sit there in the pool and talk with God about things on my mind, school, church, girls, coming up with rent or whatever.  One particular night I noticed under water in the current was a dead grasshopper. I kept my eyes on it because I'm not particularly fond of bugs, dead or alive, and I continued talking to God about all kinds of whatever. 

As the hour grew later, my heart started feeling bad for this poor dead drown bug that had been floating in the pool water for a long time.  I started imaging it just living, and doing what all grasshoppers do... leap like freaks any which direction not caring about what going on in the grand scheme of things... and then suddenly it falls... and there is nothing that can help.
He caught in the undertow and suffocating. I think about how this is us with sin, and how God saves us. Before I know it, I'm pulling this dead bug out of the water with my pruned fingers and putting him up on the deck of the pool.

I started praying for this bug to be alive.  I know we have a lot of bugs in the world, and I know there wasn't anything special about this one in particular... but my heart was broken for this little creature. I kept praying that God give the bug life. My prayers weren't because I wanted to see a miracle. It wasn't to prove the existence of God. It was because I didn't want it to be dead, so I gave it to my father in heaven and asked that it not be dead.  The grasshopper laid there on the deck in the night, as I prayed for it for a half an hour.  I don't know why I'm embarrassed to say this, because it sounds ridiculous... 
But there was a scripture that came to my mind as I was praying for life to be restored to this insect. It was Mark 16:15 that says " And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation"  Here I was trying to take that to heart. After about an hour, the bug started twitching... and I was taking the all creation part seriously. It seems really ridiculous on the surface. Yet, when that grasshopper sprung away, and I knew that he was dead when I pulled him out of that water, I knew that he was dead floating in that water... 
I know that "he" ( not sure on bug gender) was dead. 

I think that God brought the creature back to life for a few reason.  The first, was to show me who HE is. God is the God of life. He does what is good in his sight. Second, was that when you ask for things with the right heart, for the right reason, and it is something that reflects His character... God will show up. He will take care of his kids. He takes care of his creatures. 

The next thing that impressed on me is that grasshopper is us, it is us drowning in our sins. When we drown in our sins, nothing aside from God can save us. Sin is deep. The edge will creep up on you when you are leaping around like a freak and not paying attention. 

It was funny, that this story eventually lead me to a passage about God's comfort. 

" Do you not know?    Have you not heard?  Has it not been told you from the beginning?
   Have you not understood since the earth was founded?  He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,    and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,  and spreads them out like a tent to live in." -Isaiah 40:21-22

 So where ever you are, be it drowning in a pool and destruction encroaches, or having your heart rendered for some seemingly insignificant significance... Know that nothing is impossible for God. Nothing is beyond his restoration. Nothing.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Food and the Anti-Christ pt 4

Continuing in this super long 4 part series surrounding the subject of food, having already gone over Mark 7, Acts 10, and Romans 14, what is left to discuss is Colossians 2

Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— 17 things which are a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

- Colossians 2

Again I can see how on the surface that passage alone could be interpreted as  saying that keeping God's a pointed times or following what he has said about food isn't really important to the believer now.

The curious thing about this passage is found in a few scriptures prior.

8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Is the Sabbath based on the tradition of man?
Genisis 2

2 By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created [a]and made.

I don't think that is a man made tradition.
I think that one was all God.
I don't think the sabbath is based on the principles of the world either.
Exodus 20:8-11

 8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

I'm pretty sure that the world's mindset is to work every day. Gain as much money as you can. Do what you gotta do by your might and by your power to get the money. That is what I see in the world... but again, this is more about food.  Paul continued on in Colossians 2.

20 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22 (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23 These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

Ok, Paul is being specific here. He is talking about some man made teaching, a self made religion...   That is something contrary to Christ, based on the world

What is that do not handle do not taste do not touch business?
Was he rebuking the traditions of Man the same way Jesus did in Mark 7?
Where God has said that bread is clean, Some Pharisees were saying that the disciples weren't supposed to eat with unwashed hands.  This would make more sense than thinking that Paul is doing the things of the Anti-christ. Or that Paul is saying that God changed his mind to do things like the Anti-christ, or that Paul was teaching that Jesus was the Anti-christ.

Let no one judge you in regards to a sabbath day or new moon festival.

I'm not certain what Paul was saying in regard to that, but I know it wasn't an advocation of lawlessness.

Peter tells us in his writings that Paul is hard to understand and if we aren't careful when we read his letters, we are going to think that he is talking about not following the commands of God.   "Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.  He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position."

What do I think Paul was talking about in regards to keeping the sabbath or food or something?

I think he was talking to gentile believers catching flack for being gentiles keeping the commands of God. I think they were catching flack for not obeying traditions of men, and keeping the commands as best they could according to scripture... and not ceremonial hand washing.

I don't think it makes sense that he would say something like "don't practice these things, because this is a picture of what is to come in Christ"

I think it does make sense that he would be saying "Keep these how you see it in the scripture, not how man tells you, because Christ will some day show us how it is really done."

Nearing conclusion, Here are the words of the Savor, and here is a prophecy of Isaiah

Isaiah 66:22-24
22 “For just as the new heavens and the new earth Which I make will endure before Me,” declares the LORD, “So your offspring and your name will endure. 23 “And it shall be from new moon to new moon And from sabbath to sabbath, All mankind will come to bow down before Me,” says the LORD. 24 “Then they will go forth and look On the corpses of the men Who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die And their fire will not be quenched; And they will be an abhorrence to all mankind.”

^ Gross...  the part with fire and worms. yuck.

Matthew 5:17-19

17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Not abolish. Fulfill=  give full weight to or show properly. Don't teach people to break the commands of God. That .... that doesn't look comfortable.

I love you guys. This was a 4 part post on just food.


May you walk in the grace of God and the fullness of His Spirit. May the light of his truth shine upon all hearts.  Amen.

Coming soon...  A post on something completely different.

The restoration.

I think God is amazing.  I really do.

I wrote a post on history or backstory that was mostly just  thinking aloud at one in the morning.
I had a touch of the insomnia and I knew I couldn't sleep until I was done.

As my eyes strained to adjust from the darkness into the focus of the bright white light of the screen, The initial though of what I was going to write about shifted into another direction.
God brought into my mind a retelling of where he has brought me. Where he hasn't left me, and what we are working on now.

After it all poured out of my heart, and I felt enough rest to get some rest, I laid my head down to sleep. I closed my eyes and said aloud "God, if you want, bring restoration"

The next morning when I had awoken, I saw that my phone had a missed call from someone outlined in that writing the night before.

I admit, my heart paused for a second as my mind flipped through a Rolodex of my past actions wondering what I could have done now. Why was he calling? What sin had I performed now.
I didn't have the minutes to check the message and knew that in a short while I would be headed to a meeting where this man was.

I girded up my loins like  a man ( book of job style) and readied myself for the venture.
In that moment, I saw a glimpse of the person I thought I had lost. Moving to contact. No matter how bad whatever you think is coming, you face it head on.

My ride showed up not too much later than that and I piled into his van. We rode on to what was supposed to be a small gathering. A closed doors meeting of a small few for the sake of a minor fellowship.
Much to my surprise there were many I knew when I walked through the door. A remnant of a body I was once ascribed.

I made small talk and offered a few heartfelt joke with some of the men that I hadn't seen in a time as still, more people shuffled in.

Eventually the man whose call I had missed due to not having minutes on my phone came in.
He looked well. In some of the best spirits I have seen him in a long time. After he got situated he took a seat next to me on the couch he whispered that he needed to talk to me eventually.

people took their places, and a guitar was brought out. A man sang a song about inviting the savior in for fellowship.

Then in a moment, the leader, the one who had called, the one who had spoken to me prior, stops things in a sense of urgent emotion. He tells the crowd that God has laid something on his heart, and it needs to be addressed before anything else goes forward.

Then... God whispered to me.

He said " You're up"

And no sooner had I said "wut?"  in my soul, the man had stood and asked me to stand.

He told the people about how I had hurt. He confessed about how his actions had hurt me and asked for my forgiveness. I bit my lip to hold back a stead flow of emotion that welled up in me.

IT would have been much to have only said he knows the pain I felt.
It would have been much to say that he knows that he hurt me.
  To ask me to forgive him though....

how could I not?

Something hurtful in my heart died.
A pain I knew in the darkness was silent.

I wondered if this is what it felt for Joseph as his brothers told of the anguish they felt, and how he knew that they regretted hurting another.

I saw a piece of the division die in that moment.
 As he stood and proclaimed that as a leader, If we are to be serious about the word of God, and that love keeps no record of wrongs, He must make it right.

as he stood and spoke I knew that I could follow him again. I knew that I was not only willing to follow him, but I was able. 

 It was good because I have come to understand my place. My place in rank is not at the top. It isn't to be the highest.  I need someone that I can submit to. TO give direction.

like a sheep that wanders... I was found. God fixed the hearts.

I'm amazed. I am amazed and grateful.

God is a God of restoration.

As it is with all things dead or dying.   Lay them at the foot of the cross for rest or resurrection.